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Nigerian Opposition Calls For Impeachment of President, His Deputy

Nigeria's main opposition party is calling for the impeachment of the president and his deputy, bitter enemies who accuse each other of corruption. A growing number of Nigerians are worried about the situation.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party, Nigeria's main opposition party, says it will rally its members in the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the president and vice president in the wake of a widening corruption dispute.

President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar have taken their mutual accusations of corruption to the National Assembly, the courts and the media.

The opposition party says the allegations are very serious and the removal of the two leaders is the only way to restore credibility and respect to the presidency.

"We have two options," says Ibrahim Modibo, the party spokesman. "One, either to go to court and then compel the National Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings or we will organize mass demonstrations against the two. Based on all the accusations between the president and the vice, they don't have the moral high ground to steer the leadership of a democratic nation like Nigeria."

Abubakar wants to run for president in elections next year. President Obasanjo cannot run, because the constitution bars him from seeking a third term, but he appears determined to thwart his deputy's campaign to lead Africa's top oil producer.

Olabode George, an associate of the president and deputy national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, says the allegations of Abubakar's wrongdoing were well founded and borne out of the president's conviction that it would strengthen Nigeria's fledgling democracy.

"Now, certain things were leveled against the vice president. He was given a right of reply," he said. "They came up, the cabinet met, reviewed it and came out with a solution and said this is what has happened. Now, what is there for people to be saying oh, this will destabilize the system. If you don't do anything, that is what will destabilize the system."

The vice president is alleged to have misused more than $100 million in public funds.

The president, in turn, is said to have withdrawn about $30 million from a secret account.

Both men have denied the accusations.